LONDON — The U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship in Houston was canceled for the second year in a row because of the coronavirus pandemic, part of a series of changes to the men’s tennis calendar announced by the ATP.
The Houston tournament was supposed to be played April 3-11.
It was among the dozens of professional tennis events scrapped in 2020 while the tours were on hiatus for several months.
Until then, the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship had been held every year since 1929.
Among the other 2021 updates the men’s tour said it was making “in the face of scheduling challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic” was the move of the Hungarian Open clay-court tournament – usually held in Budapest in April – to Belgrade, Serbia.
The tournament director of the Belgrade event will be Djordje Djokovic, a younger brother of No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic.
The Serbia Open is scheduled to be held April 19-25. Belgrade previously hosted a tournament from 2009-12.
The ATP added two tournaments just for 2021 – in Singapore right after the Australian Open ends next month, and in Marbella, Spain, starting April 5.
The main-draw or qualifying fields are being expanded at some men’s tournaments to give more players opportunities to compete.
PARIS — A thrilling five-set victory took a toll on Gael Monfils, whose withdrawal from the French Open handed No. 6 Holger Rune a walkover to the third round.
The 36-year-old Frenchman said he has a strained left wrist and can’t continue.
He battled Sebastian Baez for nearly four hours on Court Philippe Chatrier before beating the Argentine 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 1-6, 7-5 in a first-round match that ended at 12:18 a.m. local time.
The victory was Monfils’ first at tour level this year, as the veteran was coming back from heel surgery.
“Actually, physically, I’m quite fine. But I had the problem with my wrist that I cannot solve,” he said. “The doctor say was not good to play with that type of injury. Yesterday was actually very risky, and then today definitely say I should stop.”
Monfils reached the semifinals at the French Open in 2008 and made it to the quarterfinals on three other occasions.
PARIS — Swedish tennis player Mikael Ymer was docked about $40,000 after being disqualified for smashing his racket against the umpire’s chair at a tournament the week before he competed at the French Open.
An ATP Tour spokesman said Ymer forfeited about $10,500 in prize money and 20 rankings he earned for reaching the second round of the Lyon Open. Ymer also was handed an on-site fine of about $29,000.
The spokesman said the ATP Fines Committee will conduct a review of what happened to determine whether any additional penalties are warranted.
The 56th-ranked Ymer, who is 24 and owns a victory over current No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz, was defaulted in Lyon for an outburst late in the first set against French teenager Arthur Fils last week.
Ymer was upset that the chair umpire would not check a ball mark after a shot by Fils landed near a line. As the players went to the sideline for the ensuing changeover, Ymer smacked the base of the umpire’s stand with his racket twice – destroying his equipment and damaging the chair.
That led to Ymer’s disqualification, making Fils the winner of the match.
After his 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 loss to 17th-seeded Lorenzo Musetti in the first round at Roland Garros, Ymer was asked whether he wanted to explain why he reacted the way he did in Lyon.
“With all due respect, I think it’s pretty clear from the video what caused it and why I reacted the way I reacted. Not justifying it at all, of course,” Ymer replied. “But for me to sit here and to explain? I think it’s pretty clear what led me to that place. I think that’s pretty clear in the video.”